By Graham Ruthven, Football Whispers
There was something that seemed inevitable about Julian Draxler one day joining Arsenal. There are some players that just echo the identity of certain clubs, and the German was one of those players. He might as well have played for Wolfsburg with a tag around his neck that listed the address of the Emirates Stadium. So it was a little surprising when he joined Paris Saint-Germain in January.
Of course, it wasn’t surprising that a club like PSG should be interested in someone like Draxler. Although there had been personal problems at Wolfsburg, the German international fitted the stature of the Ligue 1 club, all the while Arsene Wenger was left to look on wistfully over what might have been.
Circumstances have changed over the past six months, though. PSG have ramped up their transfer market strategy, smashing the world transfer record to sign Neymar from Barcelona this summer. They’re also plotting moves for both Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho, reportedly, with Alexis Sanchez also linked, more than once, with a switch to the Parc des Princes.
As a result, Draxler has reportedly been told that he is no longer needed at the club, with PSG putting the 23-year-old up for sale. That has supposedly put Arsenal on red alert once again, with Wenger weighing up a £32 million move for a player he has held a long-term interest in. It had been presumed that there would be no further signings at the Emirates this summer, but the situation might have changed in the past week.
But is Arsenal the only option available to Draxler? He is, after all, still considered one of the brightest young players in the European game, even if he has somewhat lost his way of late. Here, Football Whispers consider seven possible destinations for the German international.
It’s long seemed inevitable that Draxler will one day pitch up in North London and this could be the perfect timing for the Gunners to do so. Signing the German would give them a natural option on the left, meaning they would no longer have to shoehorn Alexis Sanchez in there. Draxler would give them an extra edge of creativity which would surely only help to get the best from new centre forward Alexandre Lacazette.
Antonio Conte has had his transfer market frustrations this summer, with Chelsea still lacking in the final third as they prepare for the inevitable exit of Diego Costa. Draxler isn’t the central midfielder or central striker that the Blues need, but he would bring an extra dimension to their attacking play in the final third. He could also prove a successor to Eden Hazard should the Belgian depart Stamford Bridge any time soon.
Jose Mourinho’s side looked impressive in their opening Premier League fixture of the new campaign, but Manchester United are still on the lookout for a winger to give them some additional pace on the counter attack. They have been left frustrated in their efforts to sign Ivan Perisic and Gareth Bale, so could Draxler be the compromise for the Old Trafford side? At £32million, he would be well within their price range.
As is frequently the case with big-name European stars who suddenly become available on the transfer market, it’s possible that Draxler could be the next player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League. He would certainly pick up a substantial wage packet were he to head east, but a change in rules over foreign players in the CSL could mean that this particular window might have already closed for the German.
The Catalans have a £200 million cheque currently burning a hole in their pocket following the sale of Neymar to PSG, with new Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde in desperate need of players to bolster his team in the final third. So could Draxler do a reverse Neymar and swap Paris for Barcelona? There’s a stronger case for him to sign than Philippe Coutinho, who can’t play on the left as Neymar did.
It’s possible that Draxler could return home to the Bundesliga. Were he to do that, Borussia Dortmund would appear to be the best option, even if he did play for their rivals not so long ago. Despite public appearances, Dortmund are surely preparing for the exit of Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona and so Draxler would at least help make up some of the creativity deficit.
The Serie A giants have caught the eye this summer, spending close to £190 million on the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ricardo Rodriguez and Andrea Conti. They are still linked with a move for a central striker, and so they will need to bolster the supply line in preparation. Draxler could be that supply line. He could give them another dimension ahead of a title at the league title this season.